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Arizona Republic (US)
December 1, 2007

12/11: Tori Amos

by Larry Rodgers

Two versions of Tori Amos will take the stage when she performs in Phoenix on on Dec. 11.

Amos first will portray one of the five characters inhabiting her latest album, American Doll Posse.

Amos, 44, reached back to Greek mythology to create modern versions of Athena, Aphrodite, Persephone and others.

She'll later re-emerge to play songs from her eight other albums.

Question: Did you have this cast of characters in mind for some time, or did they emerge closer to the recording of the CD?

Answer: Because I had done Strange Little Girls in 2000, 2001, that was sort of a dress rehearsal for something like this. I had worked with the late and great Kevyn Aucoin on that project as well as Karen Binns, who styled America Doll Posse as well. . . . In a way his expertise of how to turn a woman into a different character really influenced me. He knows how to do it from the outside, and I started thinking about, "Well, how do you do it from the inside?" . . . This was inspired by my idea that women can get caught in one image.

Q: Is part of what you are saying, especially with the CD cover photos, that the way a woman chooses to dress and style herself can drastically alter how society views her?

A: Without question.

Q: Does it trouble you that the obsession of both media and fans with such damaged figures as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Anna Nicole Smith seems to get stronger each year?

A: You have to define what the obsession is, because it's not about respect. In the old days, when you think about the screen sirens -- Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Catherine Deneuve -- they were more on a pedestal. . . . Some of these women had really developed an inner sense, and they had great writers. (Laughs) So when you look at some of the people who are (now) getting the obsession, we are obsessed with watching people destroy themselves because it makes us feel better about our lives. And that's what is a little disconcerting.

Q: How do you view Hillary Clinton's run for president?

A: We, as citizens, who love our country . . . need someone who is not warm and fuzzy. That's not what we need in a leader; you need strength, you need people who can draw lines. This is not a popularity contest . . . . We have to remember Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret Thatcher. Whatever (their) politics were, these were strong women who could get things done. I think Hillary is a strong woman.

Q: You start each show as one of the CD's characters. I understand you wait until an hour before show time to decide which one.

A: I might have an idea, but I can make the decision to swap until an hour before, because then I get into character and write the set list.

Q: Do you immerse yourself into the character? Is there some method acting going on?

A: All of these ancient female character types are in us on some level. It's just finding them. . . . In doing this, it's really showing women that we all have other sides to ourselves.

Q: Does acting intrigue you as a possibility down the road?

A: No. I think performance art (does). But that's a very different thing, when you think about live performance with music and character, then (David Bowie's) Ziggy Stardust is a mantra to me.


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